- Faber and Faber
- Publication Date:
- 05 April 2007
- Modern & Contemporary
Showing 1-2 out of 2 reviews.
Tenderwire is a somewhat puzzling and offbeat story of a young Irish concert violinist named Eva Tyne, who lives & works in New York with the New Amsterdam Chamber Orchestra. Eva's father, also a musician, disappeared years earlier, simply vanishing into thin air; her mother continues to live in Ireland. Eva's life changes when she is offered the chance to buy a rare Stradivarius violin by a rather shady character. The violin has no papers, has not been authenticated, nor will she be able to have it authenticated before she buys it. Her desire to own this violin takes hold of her and she has to have it. She becomes obsessed with it, but her obsession changes her life, leading her into a life of paranoia, jealousy, and uncertainty. Eva herself narrates the story, and little by little the reader watches her life go into a tailspin. My copy's book blurb says that this book is a literary thriller, but I don't know if I'd label it as such. It's very different -- it's a bit of a puzzle, and it seems like whenever you think you've got a handle on things something new is revealed. The characters are more than just cardboard cutouts, especially Eva. The book is actually quite suspenseful, because you don't have any idea what's going to happen next, which makes this story a change away from the formulaic and predictable. But its difference might cause problems for some readers -- this is definitely not a book directed at a mass-market kind of readership. My only problem was near the end, when something was revealed that I thought maybe should have been made known somewhat earlier. Oh well. You can't have it all.The writing is excellent, and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Irish fiction or perhaps to people looking for something a bit dark, edgy and different, while at the same time highly intelligent. I couldn't put this one down once I'd picked it up.
This could be a very good novel. Kilroy writes very well. It's enjoyable to read. She's great with first-person narrative, getting into a person's head. The problem is that the person whose head you get into is just so <i>stupid</i>. Well, "stupid" might be the wrong word. But she has a peculiar ability to make bad decisions. Admittedly, most people do, which is perhaps what Kilroy was going for. But most people who make bad decisions seem to have reasons that at least make sense to them. Eva does not. She just randomly decides to short-shrift Russian mobsters for no apparent reason-- she <i>has the money</i> after all. Also, Kilroy has this annoying narrative device of withholding information for the reader. I think she's trying to do the old "unreliable narrator" trick, but she's not very good at it. Eva doesn't tell the reader things not to protect herself, but just because it raises the tension. You think, <i>Oh no, he's made off with her whatever! What will happen now?</i> Only to find out a few chapters later that her whatever wasn't in the place you thought it was, and so everything's been fine all along, and every character in the book knew it and wasn't worried-- just you the reader. Why? If you have to artificially introduce tension into your plot, <i>get a new plot</i>. All that said, it generally was an enjoyable read, and Kilroy does relationship dialogue very well. I'd recommend <i>Tenderwire</i> only with reservations, but I'm still going to try to read more Kilroy.
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